The neighbor kid

The neighbor kid I played basketball with murdered our neighbor. 

When I was 16, I was visiting my dad and stepmom and we were camping along the coast of Northern California on summer break. We were at some diner, god knows where, and my dad kept getting calls.

He excuses himself to take a call.

He comes back to the table looking like ghost. He's conversing with my stepmom in hushed tones. 

I know something serious happened. 

Someone died, I thought.

It took some time for him to start speaking. 

Tell me who died so we can get this over with, were my 16 year old thoughts. I wanted to hear it so I could deal with it.

The neighbor kid, *Alex, was a 15 year old kid who I played basketball with on the weekends. He had two loving parents and a brother. His mother was the kind of mom that would bring snacks outside for us kids. His father was a deputy. They seemed like the perfect all-American family

*name has been changed.

That summer, Alex had spent days peeking through the backyard fence watching our neighbor woman sunbathing by her pool.

She had asked him repeatedly to quit spying on her. 

Eventually, she stopped sunbathing by the pool. 

On the night he murdered our neighbor, he played video games with a friend. The friend reported that Alex "seemed normal." 

Not even hours later, Alex murdered the woman next door and left a trail of blood leading from the front door of her house all the way up the stairs and into his bedroom.

The details are gruesome and horrifying.

A real-life monster among us. 

That was almost 20 years ago. 

It still leaves me with chills and stomach pits to this day.